Ecology and Society Ecology and Society
E&S Home > Vol. 23, Iss. 4 > Art. 49 > Abstract Open Access Publishing 
Keeping the land: indigenous communities’ struggle over land use and sustainable forest management in Kalimantan, Indonesia

Elizabeth Linda Yuliani, Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR); Institute for Science in Society, Radboud University Nijmegen
Edwin B. P. de Jong, Department of Anthropology and Development Studies, Radboud University Nijmegen
Luuk Knippenberg, Institute for Science in Society, Radboud University Nijmegen; Department of Anthropology and Development Studies, Radboud University Nijmegen
Denny O. Bakara, Riak Bumi Foundation
Mohammad Agus Salim, Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR)
Terry Sunderland, Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR); Department of Forest and Conservation Science, University of British Columbia, Canada


Full Text: HTML   
Download Citation


Despite the great emphasis on sustainable forest management in the 1998 Indonesian reform movement, deforestation has only accelerated since then, with Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo) exhibiting the highest rate of forest loss. Some forested areas have, however, been preserved by local communities. We investigate how and why two of these communities in Kapuas Hulu district, West Kalimantan, have managed to maintain their forests against the pressures of illegal logging and conversion to oil palm plantations. One village community had the capacity to act on its own, while the other needed additional capacity through intercommunity collaboration. Motivations behind these villages’ decisions were both economic and eudaimonic; their desire for meaningful lives related to the community and environment and to past and future generations. The findings enrich the literature on land use change because description and analysis of successful resistance against logging and oil palm is still rare. As such, the findings offer a different way to understand and interrogate the challenges confronting present-day forest communities in Kalimantan and beyond, standing out against the mainstream impression that communities are still powerless or unwilling to resist the short-term economic lures. We also refer briefly to the environmental justice perspective.

Key words

communal property; communal resistance; eudaimonia; forest and deforestation; Indonesia; logging; motivation and capacity; oil palm; sustainable forest management

Copyright © 2018 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance. This article is under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. You may share and adapt the work for noncommercial purposes provided the original author and source are credited, you indicate whether any changes were made, and you include a link to the license.

Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087